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Monday, March 28, 2011
Bruins' work on power play rewarded

By James Murphy

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Despite being 3-for-their-last-35 on the power play heading into Sunday's game in Philadelphia, the Bruins felt their man-advantage play was improving and on the verge of breaking through, having scored a power-play goal in two straight games. Apparently they were right, as the power play went 2-for-3 in the playoff spot-clinching 2-1 win. On Monday, the players were happy that their efforts were finally being rewarded.

"We've been moving the puck well, but the one thing we weren't doing well was finishing around the net, and we did that both times," coach Claude Julien said. "We got the shots through, we moved the puck well, but the guys were there to pounce on those loose pucks and bury them. That's the thing that really was holding us back there for a while."

As Julien pointed out, the main difference Sunday was the traffic down low and the forwards waiting to clean up the garbage in front.

"You look at [Sunday] and it was just bounces and we had position," forward Milan Lucic said. "Everyone talks about getting in those areas and the puck will come to you, and that's basically what happened. The puck found the guys that paid the price to get in front of the net and they got rewarded for it. That's maybe what lacked a bit, getting that shot through with a guy in front of the net. You've got to always have guys in front of the net fishing for those loose pucks, and I think that's what we're doing better lately, having guys hanging around the net and being in front of the net, and the pucks have been there for us to bang in.

"It's great, especially after getting a lot of heat there when it wasn't clicking and not helping us out at all. It was good that it's kind of been rejuvenated and it was definitely a key part of us winning [Sunday] to be able to get those big power-play goals."

Veteran forward Mark Recchi likes the way the Bruins are mixing up approach on the power play and sees the improvement as an encouraging sign heading toward the playoffs.

"We were moving it, but everything was high and we're working it both ways now, going low and going high," Recchi said. "We're getting better traffic. We were really good the couple games before [Philadelphia] and we weren't getting rewarded, but our power plays were good and we knew eventually if we kept it up we'd get the results. [Sunday] that happened and it's good to get one like that at the end of the game because if we get those opportunities in the playoffs, we need to take advantage of them."